February Inspiration #20

Lots of things happened in February! For one, all of my classes for the Spring 2021 semester finally began, so I am in full study mode and busier than ever. I’m down to monthly blog posts now, but that’s better than nothing. 🙂

The Shadowhunters

The Shadowhunters books by Cassandra Clare are my next favorite book series, on par with The Great Library series by Rachel Caine!

When I read The Great Library back in November, I finished the five-book series in 2-3 days. This month, I did the same with the six books in The Mortal Instruments (part of The Shadowhunters). I think it’s now a confirmed trend that when I stumble upon a book series I can’t put down, I literally won’t put it down until I’ve finished all of it! (Good thing I haven’t been hooked on a fifty-book series — at least not yet. =/)

There are multiple Shadowhunters series. Some occur during the other series, and some happen afterwards. The Dark Artifices trilogy, which occurs five years after the end of The Mortal Instruments, is the next one on my list. I will see how long I can put off reading it, because once I begin the first one, I won’t be able to stop myself from finishing the rest. >_>

New Laptop + Phone!

I finally got a new laptop — the first one I have that’s completely mine — as well as my first smartphone! I originally wanted to keep the price of both (added together) under $1k, but that didn’t quite work out. The total ended up being closer to $1.5k.

For the smartphone, which I purchased in January, I decided to go for a rugged phone. Rugged phones are durable in water, snow, and heat, and can be dropped without damage (from a certain height). My choice was the Blackview BV6300 Pro (color: green) for $199.

The laptop took me much longer to select. I wanted a powerful gaming laptop with excellent graphics, but gaming laptops generally have low battery life and weigh at least five pounds, which was a huge blow for me. After spending hours comparing options, I came across the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (16GB RAM + 1TB SSD). It had a few cons, but as its 11-hour battery life and 3.5lb-weight couldn’t be found anywhere else in the gaming laptop market, I went for it. I ended up with the white version, as the black one cost more. I also purchased a cheap webcam to go along with it.

I didn’t know gaming mice existed until a week or two ago, but I started looking up mice after the Zephyrus G14’s touchpad kept annoying me. I originally chose the Logitech G305 for $40, tested it out (loved it!), then returned it when I decided I didn’t need a forty-dollar mouse. The next one I chose to try out was a normal VicTsing mouse that cost $7 (on sale), and boy, could I feel the difference! It would’ve been a good choice, except I can’t do design work with it; Adobe Illustrator was a pain. In the end, I looked for a cheaper Logitech G305. Thankfully, I found a new one on eBay for just thirty dollars, and it even came along with a mousepad.

Gap Year?

Unfortunately, my three least favorite classes this semester are the three that are most important for my major (and transferring). It’s causing me to wonder why I’m studying Computer Science/Engineering at all. My dad says the classes get “fun” and more interesting during junior and senior year, while my sister tells me to endure the classes if I will enjoy the job that I can get after I finish my degree.

But what if the classes never get more interesting? I don’t want to wake up every day for the next 2-3 years wondering, “Why am I studying this?” And since my goal is to work for myself in the future, and not for someone else’s company . . . I wonder if it will be worth it.

So I’m thinking of deferring enrollment (to which university, I am not sure yet) to Fall 2022. I may want to spend the 2021-2022 school year doing other things, but I don’t know what that would be. I’d either 1) take lots of “fun” community college classes and earn certificates, or 2) spend time working on my projects, improving my skills in graphic design and web development, writing a novel, etc. Or maybe I’ll combine both.

Nothing’s set yet. Whenever I think I have everything figured out, that’s when I realize I don’t. I think it’s Hashem’s constant reminder to me of the following verse:

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

ART 195: The Simpsons

ART 195 stands for Introduction to Digital Media at Santiago Canyon and Santa Ana College. I’m taking the faster-paced eight-week class this semester.

We’ve already done some interesting assignments! Below is the most recent one — using Adobe Illustrator to trace and recreate some simple Simpsons characters. My first attempt was with Marge, on the left, and I did the assignment over again (with more success!) with Lisa on the right.

BCST Projects

I’m looking forward to earning the Audio and Video for the Web Certificate from CCSF’s Broadcast Electronic Media Arts department this semester! The classes are among some of my favorites out of the ones I’ve taken, and I wanted to share two of the projects I’ve done so far.

The final project for the Audio for the Web class was a 3-5 minute podcast episode; mine can be found at https://soundcloud.com/catherine-chen-419565463. The topic I chose was self-directed education. I think it’s more suited to article-style content than a podcast, though. It did inspire me to plan on putting a section in Pinguni for short article guides on different topics.

Another project, for the Digital Media Skills class, was an experiment in HTML and CSS. It’s been a long while since I’ve coded in plain HTML and CSS, so this assignment challenged me to make something nice with only a few lines of code. You can download the files here.

The Laramie Project

My THEA 118 (Scene Study) class at Santiago Canyon is putting together The Laramie Project this spring!

I play three characters: April Silva, Zubaida Ula, and a newspaper reporter. Zubaida’s parts consist of two monologues and a paragraph in a scene, while April and the reporter have about 2-3 lines each. I’ll be doing some work on the tech side, though, so I’m glad I don’t have too much work acting in the play itself.


My Month in Ten Words: Exciting and fun. Lack of sleep. So so busy. (yawn)

Question of the Month: What am I doing?

February 2021

Catherine Chen
Catherine Chen

Inspire and be inspired.

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